Windows lifecycle: important dates


Premise

The Microsoft last year has definitely dropped support for Windows XP. Next July 14 will be the turn of the Windows Server 2003 family of products.

Spontaneously a doubt: you can know as of now the termination of support dates for the Windows operating systems still in use?

The answer is yes, and it’s Microsoft itself to publish periodically the tables that describes the life cycle of its operating systems.

Windows lifecycle

Mainstream Support and Extended Support

When talking about support to a client operating system, Microsoft provides two different dates, one on the Mainstream Support, Extended Support to a relative.

The Mainstream Support is a comprehensive product support . It includes security updates, non-security related updates, and free support included in the license.

The Extended Support includes, in principle, only the release of security updates .

Normally the Mainstream Support is guaranteed for 5 years from the date of availability of the product or for 2 years after the date of the next product release (prevails longer period), while the Extended Support is guaranteed for 5 years from the date of availability of the product or for 2 years after which the next second product has been released (whichever is the longer period).

The actual support has normally longer times than those set forth above.

Note the fact that the end of support dates refer to the operating system on which the update or the latest Service Pack has been installed.

lifecycle Client Operating Systems

The following are the dates of the life cycle of the Windows Client Operating Systems family.

Client Operating Systems Service pack or the latest update End of Mainstream Support End of Extended Support
Windows XP Service Pack 3 April 14, 2009 April 8, 2014
Windows Vista Service Pack 2 April 10, 2012 April 11, 2017
Windows 7 * Service Pack 1 January 13, 2015 January 14, 2020
Windows 8 Windows 8.1 January 9, 2018 January 10, 2023

(Source: Microsoft)

It ‘easy to see that Windows XP has reached its end, that Windows Vista still has two years of security updates, and Windows 7 has already passed the stage of Mainstream Support and which, consequently, will receive, until 2020, only security updates.

Among the updates available in the Mainstream Support phase, there are also those that are released on the request of users. A typical example is the upgrade from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, released by Microsoft quickly born as a result of criticism by the lack of the Start button.

This means that Windows Vista and Windows 7 definitely will not be affected by updates radicals and that, therefore, they remain without substantial changes.

No worries shall be on the operating system users in the process of Extended Support: security is guaranteed until the date shown in the column End of Extended Support, provided that the latest service pack is installed.

How to check the version of Windows being used and the presence of Service Pack

To find out what OS version you’re using, and if it is updated to the latest Service Pack, you can do a simple check.

Go to Start and click the right button on Computer . A window will open where you will see a set of data.

Under Windows Edition (highlighted in yellow in the figure below) you will find version and service pack

 

Of course you should, if your Operating System is free of the last Service Pack, hurry to install it to take advantage of security updates in the future.

Lifecycle Server 2003 Operating Systems

The operating systems of the Windows Server 2003 family will enjoy only the Extended Support until 14 July 2015, as shown in the table below:

released products End of Support “Extended”
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86) 07/14/2015
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition for Itanium-Based Systems 07/14/2015
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter x64 Edition 07/14/2015
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86) 07/14/2015
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition for Itanium-based Systems 07/14/2015
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition 07/14/2015
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86) 07/14/2015
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition 07/14/2015
Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Web Edition 07/14/2015

Lifecycle Server 2008 Operating Systems

The Windows Server 2008 operating systems family follow the same course required for the products of the family Windows 7. They are also at the stage where you only receive security updates (Extended Support).

released products End of Support “Extended”
Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter 01/14/2020
Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise 01/14/2020
Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium-Based Systems 01/14/2020
Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard 01/14/2020

Lifecycle Server 2012 Operating Systems

The operating systems of the Windows Server 2012 family, being more recent, still receive full updates through the Mainstream Support. Here are the details:

released products End of Mainstream Support End of Support “Extended”
Windows Server 2012 Datacenter 09/01/2018 01/10/2023
Windows Server 2012 Essentials 09/01/2018 01/10/2023
Windows Server 2012 for Embedded Systems 09/01/2018 01/10/2023
Windows Server 2012 Foundation 09/01/2018 01/10/2023
Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter 09/01/2018 01/10/2023
Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials 09/01/2018 01/10/2023
Windows Server 2012 R2 for Embedded Systems 09/01/2018 01/10/2023
Windows Server 2012 R2 Foundation 09/01/2018 01/10/2023
Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard 09/01/2018 01/10/2023
Windows Server 2012 Standard 09/01/2018 01/10/2023
Windows Server Update Services for Windows Server 2012 09/01/2018 01/10/2023

conclusions

I always remember that the use of an operating system that no longer receives updates exposes the system to dangers related to security. Council, therefore, on reaching the end of the Extended Support, upgrade your computer to a more current operating system.